Issue 23 Nonfiction
A Grief Unraveled
by Kelly Martineau
the sweater. commando style, crew neck, ribbed fabric for a close fit. Since acquiring the sweater in 1993, I have lugged its bulk from home to home, state to state. Across Texas, and from Austin to Seattle, I have carried with me the two pounds of knitted fabric that I haven’t worn since adolescence. Even then, the heavy cotton of the borrowed sweater sagged against my body, sloping off my rounded shoulders and hanging over my small chest while stretching over my wide, bony hips.
by John Peters
on thursday evening, November 9, 1989, rivers of joyous, disbelieving East Germans poured through checkpoints into the West, welcomed by champagne and hugs from throngs of jubilant, cheering West Germans. For hours I held my breath in dread of a crushing backlash as I monitored news reports from the other side of the Atlantic. But when it became clear that the East German police were cheerfully standing aside, my fear gave way to goose-bump exultation. Memories of being on the dark side of that wall eighteen years earlier came in a flood, and I prayed that the East Germans who had put themselves at risk to initiate contact with three Americans during a clandestine and extraordinary night out in Leipzig were among the people now streaming into the West for the first time.
by Alexa Mergen
poets pole their pages between the banks of then and now like ferrymen; the more time we spend on death’s shore the more our longing for life propels us into motion. So on the day two poems spilled out of me, I canceled my volunteer hours and procrastinated on a freelance editing assignment. Those two poems unfolded from pencil to paper with a fluidity I’d not experienced in a quarter century of arranging words. An immediate explanation is that death had lately crept closer to my house and heart: parents in surgery for serious illnesses, news of suicides among acquaintances, war and its images in the papers for so long, and the old dog, my steady companion, now faded and brittle like a winter hydrangea blossom.